2019 World Youth Day in Panama City officially got underway January 22 with an opening Mass celebrated by the Bishop of Panama, Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, O.S.A.

Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop Robert Brennan is leading a delegation of pilgrims from the diocese (above) at the six-day event which concludes Sunday, January 27 with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.

Below are some facts about 2019 World Youth Day:

  • The theme for World Youth Day 2019 is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
  • The pope’s visit to Panama Jan. 23-27 will be his 26th trip outside of Italy and his third World Youth Day.
  • During his visit, the pope will celebrate a penitential liturgy Jan. 25 with young inmates at Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Center in Pacora. He will also visit Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan Home), a center dedicated to helping people with HIV-AIDS.
  • Young pilgrims will represent more than 155 countries.
  • From the United States, more than 10,000 young pilgrims had registered to attend the events in Panama said Paul Jarzembowski, World Youth Day USA coordinator and assistant director of youth and young adult ministries for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Recent World Youth Days have been held during the summer allowing more young people from the Northern Hemisphere to take part.
  • Pope St. John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985. The first international gathering was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987.